Let’s not shy away from the fact that there is a huge gap between parents and their children. This fact may be ascribed to the current witnessed economic hardships in the country or among families in our own society.
However, despite the busy schedule among parents where they leave their homes very early in the morning and return very late in the evening, should not be an excuse for not closely monitoring their children on what they engage in while in school or at home with their peers.
Parents needs to close the gap between themselves and their children, and initiate open discussions on various health and social topics with their children, since this will enable their children to open up on their encounters in whatever environment, express their fears, interest and any other issue they encounter while in school or at the homes.
Let’s link this issue with drug addiction in schools.
“School going children of as low age as 13 years are abusing drugs,” this is according to a psychosocial counselor Mr Bakari Ali.
Ali who is attached to the Anti-drug Organisation Reachout Centre Trust (RCT), an Organisation that works towards achieving progressive harm reduction services to people who use drugs has experienced almost every aspect of what pushes the young generation to drugs.
“Peer influence, the interests on venturing on to new experiences, frustrations among the youth, unemployment, availability of drugs in their locality can drive the minors to drugs,” he further revealed.
He says when children as young as 13 years indulge in drug use then it means those at 10, 11 and 12 years can easily be found in this unpredicted situation.
As parents, Mr Ali says they should set at least a half an hour every day to have an open social discussion with their children so as to learn from them their interest and what could be pushing them to social vices.
The renowned counselor who his life has been surrounded by people who use drugs and who wants to disentangle themselves from the menace says by defining the root cause of the problem, the society will be able to safeguard the children from the wrath of drugs and substance abuse.
“You know it may be easily start by sending your 5 year old child a cigarette at a nearby shop, or chewing Muguka or Miraa (khart) in front of your young children, remember these children are mostly interested and learning from their parents action this has been confirmed in many scenarios,” he reiterated.
The psychosocial counselor says with his engagements with the underage in both primary and secondary schools especially within Mombasa county he has learnt that there is a huge gap between parents and their children, a gap that should be immediately sealed by improving on family engagements, open discussion, social guidance and the need for children to be guided in the right religious path.
Parents should stop putting the child upbringing responsibility to teachers and clearly understand the fact that they are the first teachers right in their homes.
[RCT Voi Drop-In-Centre Coordinator Alfred Karisa at a past anti-drug engagement forum with students Mombasa. Photo/Tom Fondo].
They should also clearly know what’s their children indulge in when out of schools and their home set-up as well.
According to Mr Ali, the time spent by parents on their children remains very critical compared to money spent on their children.
“As a responsible parent, do not be quick in defending your children’s wrong doing, do not depict it as a shame to the family but take that bold step and challenge your child to be a responsible person today and in the future,” he divulged.